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Dancing electrons at the heart of a laser breakthrough

July 23, 2014 | by Joseph Blumberg, Dartmouth | Comments

A team of Dartmouth scientists and their colleagues have devised a breakthrough laser that uses a single artificial atom to generate and emit particles of light—and may play a crucial role in the development of quantum computers, which are predicted to eventually outperform even today’s most powerful supercomputers.

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Researchers pioneer a Google street view of galaxies

July 23, 2014 9:55 am | by Verity Leatherdale, Univ. of Sydney | Comments

A new home-grown instrument based on bundles of optical fibers is giving Australian astronomers the first “Google street view” of the cosmos—incredibly detailed views of huge numbers of galaxies. Developed by researchers at the Univ. of Sydney and the Australian Astronomical Observatory, the optical-fiber bundles can sample the light from up to 60 parts of a galaxy, for a dozen galaxies at a time.

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First direct-diode laser bright enough to cut, weld metal

July 23, 2014 9:43 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | Comments

Diode lasers are perhaps the most efficient, compact and low-cost lasers available. Attempts have been made over the years to amplify the brightness of these valuable lasers for industrial applications, such as welding and cutting metal. But boosting power usually means decreasing beam quality, or focus. And the beam never gets intense enough to melt metal.

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Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia

July 23, 2014 9:27 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | Comments

More than 100 researchers from around the world have collaborated in the biggest-ever genomic mapping of schizophrenia, for which scientists had previously uncovered only about a couple of dozen risk-related genes. Since this research began, scientists have linked more than 100 spots in our DNA to the risk of developing schizophrenia, casting light on the mystery of what makes the disease tick.

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World breaks monthly heat record two times in a row

July 23, 2014 8:54 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | Comments

The globe is on a hot streak, setting a heat record in June. That's after the world broke a record in May. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced this week that last month's average global temperature was 61.2 degrees, which is 1.3 degrees higher than the 20th century average. It beat 2010's old record by one-twentieth of a degree.

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The geography of the global electronic waste burden

July 23, 2014 8:42 am | Comments

As local and national governments struggle to deal with ever-growing piles of electronic waste (e-waste), scientists are now refining the picture of just how much there is and where it really ends up. Published in Environmental Science & Technology, their study found that nearly a quarter of e-waste that developed countries discard floods into just seven developing countries.

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Researchers create vaccine for dust-mite allergies

July 23, 2014 8:32 am | by Richard C. Lewis, Univ. of Iowa | Comments

If you’re allergic to dust mites, help may be on the way. Researchers at the Univ. of Iowa have developed a vaccine that can combat dust-mite allergies by naturally switching the body’s immune response. In animal tests, the nano-sized vaccine package lowered lung inflammation by 83% despite repeated exposure to the allergens.

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Instrument enables high-speed chemical imaging of tissues

July 23, 2014 8:06 am | Comments

A research team from NIST, working with the Cleveland Clinic, has demonstrated a dramatically improved technique for analyzing biological cells and tissues based on characteristic molecular vibration "signatures." The new NIST technique is an advanced form of the widely used spontaneous Raman spectroscopy, but one that delivers signals that are 10,000 times stronger than obtained from spontaneous Raman scattering.

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Southwest Research Institute to lead joint industry project for separation tech

July 23, 2014 8:03 am | Comments

The launch of a multi-million dollar joint industry project this week by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) aims to better understand oil and gas separation technology. The Separation Technology Research Program (STAR Program) is a three-year effort open to operating companies, contractors and equipment manufacturers, and will combine industry knowledge and resources to advance research.

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Technique simplifies the creation of high-tech crystals

July 22, 2014 2:29 pm | Comments

Highly purified crystals that split light with precision are valued in specialized optics. But photonic crystals are difficult to make with current techniques, namely electron beam etching. Researchers at Princeton and Columbia universities have proposed a new method derived from colloidal suspensions that could allow scientists to customize and grow optimal crystals with relative ease.

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NIST develops prototype meter test for hydrogen refueling stations

July 22, 2014 2:20 pm | Comments

Three automakers plan to begin selling hydrogen-fueled vehicles to consumers in 2015. To support the fair sale of gaseous hydrogen as a vehicle fuel, researchers at NIST have developed a prototype field test standard to test the accuracy of hydrogen fuel dispensers. Once the standard is field tested, it will serve as a model for constructing similar devices for state weights and measures inspectors to use.

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Students to design, build, fly experiment to test green propellant

July 22, 2014 1:43 pm | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | Comments

The Zero-Gravity Flight Experiment course at Purdue Univ. will see its creation soar to the upper atmosphere to study a new green propellant. The students are partnering with Aerojet Rocketdyne to demonstrate that the propellant can replace the traditional but highly toxic hydrazine fuel. They will design and build their experiment at Purdue, then NASA will launch it on a commercial suborbital rocket flight for weightless experiment time.

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Joint Singapore-U.S. program to increase IC circuit designers globally

July 22, 2014 1:37 pm | Comments

North Carolina-based Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and Singapore’s Silicon Cloud International (SCI) are launching a new program aimed at globally advancing integrated circuit (IC) design education and research. The program will focus on increasing the quantity of IC designers in university systems worldwide, and enhancing expertise in secure cloud computing architecture.

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Study: Global warming “pause” reflects natural fluctuation

July 22, 2014 9:06 am | Comments

According to recent research from McGill Univ., statistical analysis of average global temperatures between 1998 and 2013 shows that the slowdown in global warming during this period is consistent with natural variations in temperature. The study concludes that a natural cooling fluctuation during this period largely masked the warming effects of a continued increase in man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

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Optomechanical crystal helps study photon-phonon interactions

July 22, 2014 8:48 am | Comments

Researchers in Spain have announced their successful effort to build a silicon 1-D optomechanical crystal so that it allows both phonons and photons to localize in a stable way. This marks an opportunity to study the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and mechanical vibrations of matter with a new level of precision.

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Bacteria swim with bodies and flagella

July 22, 2014 8:43 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | Comments

When it comes to swimming, the bodies of some bacteria are more than just dead weight, according to new research from Brown Univ. Many bacteria swim using flagella, corkscrew-like appendages that push or pull bacterial cells like tiny propellers. It's long been assumed that the flagella do all the work during swimming, while the rest of the cell body is just along for the ride.

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